UNDERSTAND YOUR ATTENTION SPAN AND RESPECT IT

By Nnabugwu Chinazaekpere, Anchor and Host.

The piece, you are about to read, started on a previous link with the title ATTENTION SPAN: WHAT A GREAT REVELATION AND A WONDERFUL THING TO KNOW. Please click here to join the linkhttps://onesquarebell.blogspot.com.ng/2017/09/attention-span-what-great-revelation.html

Those of you coming from the link are already conversant with the preliminary side of the story. As for those reading this particular segment of the story for the first time, you may wish to click on the link to read the preliminary part. However, I still consider it necessary to refresh your memory, not minding whether you are coming to the Platform for the first time or not. For this reason, let me refresh your mind with the last segment of the write-up, starting with the portion that reads:

“Let me reveal to us, something I came across that I belief will be of interest to us. It is the secret, or if you like, the revelation that the maximum time that an average Teen can focus on a given task is 20 minutes. That is to say that the attention span of an average Teen is 20 minutes”.
As a continuation of the story, let me start by saying: In case you’re wondering what “attention span”, really is, it is: “The length of time that a person can concentrate or remain interested on a particular task, activity, subject, etc., without becoming distracted”.

What this implies, is, Teens, under normal circumstances are designed by nature to concentrate on a task, job, assignment, activity, subject; such as washing plates, reading books, listening to the teacher and so on, for just 20 minutes; after which, we would need to take a break.
Isn’t it really a secret? It is a secret that we must embrace seriously, if we are going to improve and surpass our performance of last term and the previous years, generally.
The school system is aware of the magic of the 20 minutes. Similarly, all good teachers recognize and adopt this in their teaching. That is the reason, the teachers we enjoy most are those that identify and work with the 20 minutes magic period granted to us by nature.
We enjoy such Teachers, because they help us to observe this 20 minutes interval. They indulge in activities that make it possible for their class to observe our God-given break period. As we must have observed over time, they (the teachers), do so by cracking jokes. Some of them, would instead of cracking jokes, decide to tell a brief story. Others knowing the implication of dis-respecting the attention span, by over stretching the class beyond the limit would rather throw a question to the class, in a very funny way, or to somebody caught napping, during the class.
Such teachers, as we must have observed over time, indulge in something that takes our attention, off, for a little while, before tactically bringing us back. The idea is to avoid a situation whereby our minds on its own switch off and engage in something else while our physical body, though in the class, does nothing else, but mope at the teacher. The teachers indulge in those activities, to ensure that our attention to the class is maximized to the fullest.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that the challenge, therefore, that I am trying to address, in this context, is not necessarily with the classroom teaching, considering, especially, the fact that many of us are under the tutelage of very good teachers, who are also under supervision and control.
The challenge is on our role as students and the ability to complement the teachers’ efforts. This as we all know, involves deepening our understanding of the lessons learnt and making them much more enduring. One of the ways we are supposed to do this, is through private reading and studying. It follows therefore, that our major challenge, with the attention span, in the context of this write up is more on the ability to effectively manage it during our private studies.
Thus my core objective, in this piece is to encourage us individually and collectively, to take this issue very serious, by recognizing the fact that it exists and doing all that is within our control to ensure that we are always on top of the situation. Doing so will improve our performance in and out of school.
Effective management of the 20 minutes attention span, starts with recognizing and appreciating the fact that after 20 minutes, your thoughts, attention or focus normally drifts, even when it is obvious that you are still interested in the subject. This I belief you have witnessed by yourself time and time, over and over, again and again. If you learn to relate well with the 20 minutes attention span, bearing in mind the way the good teachers manage them (stick to 20 minutes), you’re likely if not certain to remember more, and understand more, simply because you’ll be concentrating the more, during your reading.
It is important to point out here, that each individual learns at his or her own pace. Therefore, it is not out of place if you find out that 20 minutes is too long for you. Truth is, the 20 minutes attention span, is to say the least, the maximum, if you like. Hence, if you find your mind wandering before the 20 minutes time is up, rather than thinking that something is wrong with you and as a result complain bitterly, all you need do is to identify, the period your mind starts wandering of and respect it. For some of us, it might require something such as trying for example, working for 15 minutes at a time. If that seems so long, a time, there is nothing stopping you from trying 12 minutes. The important thing is to identify what works for you and to stick to it.
After identifying your attention span, what is required, is simply to take a break for 5, 7 or 10, minutes, after which you return to your study.  
As a matter of necessity, it is essential to point out here that everyone reads differently. Thus, the number of words or pages you can cover in 20 minutes or less, depending on what works best for you, during your private study, is not yet the issue. At this point, don’t worry about how much material you’re covering. The interesting thing, which is obviously more important, rewarding and beneficial is the fact that you are becoming much more aware of who you are; in addition to being your own teacher.
The next stage, which is to increase your reading pace will equally involve some steps. Among the steps is to give yourself the time it takes.
According to my father, “We grow faster when we work at our own pace”. In one of his numerous training sessions, which I went with him, I overhead him tell the participants “Working at our pace brings out the best in us. It ensures that our abilities, penchants, inclinations and preferences work together and more often than not, they help us to make the most out of our time”.

Till I come your way next time, Thank you. Remember to stay out of trouble. Ciao!
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